Ever since he was head-high to a fire hydrant, Mark Barbee dreamed of becoming a firefighter. Some dreams do come true. Today, Mark is pulling double duty fighting fires and working as a paramedic for the Peoria Fire Department in Peoria, Illinois. Mark's hours allowed him to build and maintain his custom '02 GMC Sierra and then cruise to shows, where he has been known to take home his fair share of awards.

Mark teamed up with the crew at Grunion Fabrication in Phoenix, to achieve the Sierra's slammed stance. Up front, a pair of DJM 2-inch drop spindles with Firestone 2600 'bags and Doetsch Tech gas-filled shocks share responsibility for the front suspension's vertical action. To allow for the added negative suspension travel, the rear framerails were notched. The chrome two-link rear suspension system is damped by a pair of Doetsch Tech gas-filled shocks. The front and rear vertical ride height can be independently tweaked at each corner or transformed into a road-grater with the flip of a switch, activating the feed from a pair of Viair compressors. The air is stored in two 5-gallon reservoirs; an AVCO manifold disperses the air through 1/2-inch valves and solid-copper hard lines. Mark's Sierra rolls on a set of Boze Wedge polished billet aluminum 22x8-1/2-inch wheels consumed in 285/30R22 Goodyear Wrangler F1 rubber.

Mark's Sierra is built more for show than go. The 4.8L Vortech V-8 received added punch with the installation of a Hypertech Power Programmer Superchip. To achieve a performance look, Mark added some engine eye candy by bolting on an Airaid carbon-fiber air intake and one-off hoses. A pair of Optima YellowTop batteries provide electrical power to the engine ignition and the audio system.

Some of the added body mods consist of a Sir Michaels roll pan flanked by a pair of '03 Sierra taillights. The doors received '03 Tahoe handles. A Reflexxions cowl-induction hood adds to the stylish sport-truck appearance, while a SnugTop tonneau cover completes the package. The team at Owen's Custom Paint prepared all the sheetmetal before laying down a couple of coats of primer, then block-sanded the entire surface before spraying multiple coats of white basecoat. The Sierra was then delivered to Monster Paint F/X where the gothic-style graphics, using Nissan LeMans copper, with ghost faces were applied. The Nissan chrome silver also has iron crosses ghosted in the color. The flame perimeters were pinstriped using First Shot Progressive blue and black. The side windows received gothic flame treatment and carry out the inferno effect.

The interior stitchwork was done by Todd of The Interior Shop in Phoenix, using two-tone gray leather for the bucket seats and door panels. Chris at AZOE pulled the original dash and laminated it with carbon fiber. The steering wheel is a unique CanDo Specialties billet, tribal design. For foot comfort, a plush, gray carpet covers the floor, while the bucket seats are separated by a custom fiberglass waterfall console, constructed and painted by Monster Paint F/X. The gothic flame-embossed gray headliner houses the overhead console. The SnugTop tonneau cover also has an embossed gray inner liner to match the interior headliner.

For some serious audio components in the dash, doors, and center console, Mark cruised over to Erin and Ruddy at Professional Automotive Engineering (PAE) in Phoenix. A Pioneer head unit produces the musical entertainment that is induced by a pair of Memphis thunder amplifiers-one powers the head unit, while the other powers the two booming Memphis 10-inch subwoofers. The system's mid and separate speakers are located in the door panels. After all the components were installed in their appropriate locations, Albert and Tony at Noise Audio in Phoenix wired everything together.

Without a doubt, Mark's Sierra expresses a balance of esthetic styling and productive function. Mark would like to thank his girlfriend, Libby; his brother Adam; and Andy Gullick and Cole Russell. Maybe more of us should take note of the firefighters' saying: You Only Live Once.

  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • View Full Article